City College supporters protest state takeover and the agenda behind it

City College supporter gather outside the US Department of Education.
Joe Fitzgerald

By Dalton Amador

Around 350 students, faculty members and other San Franciscans marched from City College’s downtown campus to the U.S. Department of Education Tuesday afternoon to protest the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior College’s (ACCJC) decision to terminate City College’s accreditation effective July 31, 2014.

The Save CCSF Coalition sponsored the event. “We are not here to mourn, we are here to fight,” Shanell Williams, City College’s newly elected student trustee and one of the leaders of the coalition, told a cheering crowd. “ACCJC is a private, rogue group.”

The coalition sought to convince the Department of Education, which oversees the ACCJC, to immediately reverse the commission’s decision.

Behind Aztec dancers dressed in feathers and loincloths, protesters chanted “No more deception, no more lies, we don’t want to privatize” and held picket signs that read “Stop the corporate overthrow of public education at CCSF” as they marched down Market Street.

The coalition said that revoking City College’s accreditation is part of a systematic effort to undermine affordable education. Eric Blanc, one of the coalition’s leaders and a current City College student, said that the ACCJC’s decision to terminate City College’s accreditation was motivated in part by forcing would-be transfer students to take out student loans for private or for-profit universities.

“It’s clear that from the arbitrary norms the commission is using as its excuse to shut down City College that there is something much bigger going on,” he said. “(Students) are going to go to the University of Phoenix or prison.”

Williams agreed. “Where would I go?” she said, referring to a hypothetical City College student’s hope to transfer to a California State University or University of California campus without first going to a private university.  

City College Board of Trustees members Chris Jackson, Vice President Anita Grier and Rafael Mandelman addressed the crowd in front of the Department of Education.

Grier said that the “democratic process” that elected the Board of Trustees was “replaced by a feudal lord dictator,” referring to the ACCJC-appointed Special Trustee Robert Agrella, who now holds unilateral power over the board following the ACCJC’s decision. He had canceled a meeting scheduled for that day by President John Rizzo.

Supervisors Scott Wiener and David Campos also spoke, both saying that many of their constituents depend on City College. “Where is Ed Lee?” the crowd chanted spontaneously during different speakers’ addresses.

Lee did address the City College situation earlier in the day when he asked about it at the Board of Supervisors meeting, reiterating his previous statements supporting a state takeover. “It’s been a difficult decision and we had been hoping the decision of the accrediting commission would be different,” Lee said, going on to praise California Community College Chancellor Brice Harris, who Lee said, “has agreed to save City College through a state intervention.”

But on the streets, protesters rued the loss of local control and the agenda behind it.

Some independent organizations, not part of the Save CCSF Coalition, participated to show their support. Adam Wood, a firefighter of 18 years, held a sign that said, “San Francisco Firefighters support City College.”

“A lot of aspiring firefighters go through fire academy at City College,” he said. “It would be a real loss if it closed.”

City College will remain open for the following fall and spring semesters. It can ask for a review of the decision to the ACCJC. Should the ACCJC affirm its decisions, the college can appeal. The college would remain open during the appeal process.


You can't count. It was more like 2000!

Posted by Guest Carole T on Jul. 10, 2013 @ 10:04 pm

are these protesters walking in support of past City College incompetence, or are they marching in support of uncontrolled spending of over 80% of City College's budget on staff Either way SFCC is the worst run city college in California and not protestng in favor of incompetence and/or over paid facility is idiotic

Posted by oldfart on Jul. 11, 2013 @ 10:39 am

The answer to your question is "no."

Posted by Guest ethan davidson on May. 14, 2014 @ 11:28 pm

It appears that the "Save City College Coalition" is sticking to its conspiratorial assertion that the Accreditation Commission's real intent is to strike a blow to public education in favor of privatization. Indeed, what alternative does the Coalition have except to offer this distraction, in view of the Commission's documentation of the Trustee's unbelievable mismanagement. Time for serious students and responsible faculty and staff to focus on implementing the Accreditation Commission's recommendations; which can be done if the Trustees and other negative influences are discouraged from all the agitation they are causing in their efforts to save their jobs.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 11, 2013 @ 11:04 am

College monitors gone wild

For City College of San Francisco's 85,000 students, the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges may have done more harm than good in punishing the school.

By The Times editorial board

July 11, 2013, 5:00 a.m.

City College of San Francisco's 85,000 students will lose their affordable public community college if its accreditation is revoked as scheduled. Some of the problems found by the regional Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges were indeed serious, but the situation also illustrates some of the problems with the accreditation process. It is at times focused more on disciplining schools and obscure governance deficiencies than on the educational issues that matter most.

The commission's decision doesn't go into effect for a year, during which time the college can appeal or work so quickly to improve that it can persuade the commission to reverse the decision. After receiving notice last year that its status was in peril, the college made improvements, but its efforts satisfied the commission in only two of 14 areas. Loss of accreditation would mean no more state funding — and therefore no more college.

The commission found severe shortcomings along with smaller, more peripheral ones that have little to do with whether students are actually receiving a good education. Among the worst: The college's elected board had failed to reduce expenses sufficiently; reserves were adequate for only three days of operations. It failed to track student outcomes. Some faculty members were intimidated by others.

Posted by anon on Jul. 11, 2013 @ 11:37 am

It is too late ! Read the latest draft report from FCMAT.

" . Lack of skilled staff at all levels

.Unauthorized wage rate changes

.Staff payroll overpayments

.No verification of vacation and sick time

.No one assigned to position control

.Employee benefits not re-confirmed

.Data system overly-customized"

CCSF is dying if not already dead. One more year of remedy cannot undo 20 years of damage.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 11, 2013 @ 12:56 pm

Putting Berg and Wong on trial for corruption would be a good start.

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